Is £170m enough to keep Huddersfield in the Premier League?

The Terriers are returning to the top flight after a 45-year absence, but David Wagner must work hard to keep them there

Huddersfield Town play off final promotion
Mark Hudson and Nahki Wells of Huddersfield celebrate after winning promotion to the Premier League in the play-off final
(Image credit: Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty)

Huddersfield Town are back in the top echelon of English football following a 45-year absence after beating Reading on penalties in the Championship play-off final on Monday.

The game, which finished 0-0, will not live long in the memory, but the Yorkshire team's celebrations will.

Having made it to the final by beating Sheffield Wednesday on penalties, they won another shoot-out at Wembley. Owner Dean Hoyle apparently fainted in the royal box as the supporters went wild.

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"It was, of course, a German, Christopher Schindler, who had to score the decisive spot-kick and with it deliver the most lucrative stroke of a ball in the history of football," says Jason Burt of the Daily Telegraph.

"There were no goals – the first time a Championship play-off final has finished goalless since the format was introduced in 1987 – but there is the ultimate goal. The big prize. A guaranteed £170m for winning the richest game in world football and now being up there with the big boys. But way beyond that there is the realisation of a sporting dream."

Henry Winter of The Times agrees. "This meant far more than the bundles of cash from Richard Scudamore's broadcasting booty. This meant intense pride for all those Huddersfield fans waking up today, possibly a few with sore heads, and going into work with their team having followed Newcastle United and Brighton & Hove Albion out of the Sky Bet Championship and its brutal assault course.

"Promotion meant so much because they have been away so long. Absence made the heart beat faster. Huddersfield have not been in the leading league in the land since Amazing Grace by the Pipes and Drums and the Military Band of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards was at number one and Marlon Brando was making people offers they couldn't refuse in The Godfather."

The challenge now is to ensure that inspirational German manager David Wagner remains on board. He has overseen quite a turnaround for The Terriers.

"Wagner was appointed in November 2015 with the immediate brief of making sure Huddersfield avoided relegation to League One. They were 18th at the time, glancing over their shoulders with profound concern," says Nick Miller of The Guardian.

Now they are looking upwards at the stars. But maintaining their Premier League dream could prove difficult.

"Recent examples do not provide much scope for optimism. The last three play-off final winners have made immediate returns to the Championship, the gap in class too much for QPR, Norwich and Hull.

"There is no doubt that this Huddersfield side will require significant enhancement. Their squad is littered with players who scream 'Championship stalwarts', though there are some who will aspire to more than that."

But Wagner has wrung the most from a squad that had "no business" challenging for promotion, says Miller. "This team are much more than the sum of their parts and, while obviously the Premier League is a much more intense test, the basic principle remains – as Sean Dyche, Marco Silva, Paul Clement and others displayed this season."

Huddersfield and Brighton, also returning to the top flight after an absence of a generation, will have to work hard in the transfer window says Sam Morshead of MailOnline.

"While victory in the so-called £170m match at Wembley will have boosted the coffers, Huddersfield's current squad only cost £8m to put together and their total wage bill – for all staff – came in at £12m in 2015-16.

"The jump to Premier League salaries and outlay might take a little time to acclimatise to… the club will have to hope the transfer market throws up a few gems. It will not be easy pickings."

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